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(to be continued...)
HIV DRUGS KILL LIKE POVERTY (APRIL '02)
"Median time from seroconversion to AIDS and death in poor, starving
rural Africans (without access to health care, purified water or
electricity)... is no different than that observed in
Europeans, North Americans, or Australians who have full access to proper
nutrition, health-care, "life-prolonging" anti-retrovirals, and prophylaxis
against opportunistic infections." See this article by Dr. Rodney Richards. See also this interview with Dr. Richards by Mark Gabrish Conlan.
TREATMENT FAILURES (APRIL '02)
Nevirapine can also cause neuropsychiatric complications, see
this report from the BMJ.
"In a warning letter to physicians Bristol-Myers Squibb has reported 22 cases (including 7 deaths) worldwide of a stavudine-associated rapidly ascending neuromuscular weakness and respiratory failure mimicking GuillainBarr�syndrome." See this article
"W.H.O. Moves to Make AIDS Drugs More Accessible to Poor Worldwide" see this article from the New York Times.
PRESIDENT & DISSIDENTS (APRIL '02)
"President Thabo Mbeki has distanced the government from the AIDS dissidents
from whom he has taken controversial advice over the past few years", writes South Africa's Sunday Times. "Officials Urge AIDS Dissidents to Stop Misusing Mbeki's Name" says a Business Day headline. But "President Thabo Mbeki's relationship with AIDS dissidents looks set to be an
enduring one, in spite of suggestions from within government that they
should stop using Mbeki's name in their correspondence." See this article from Business Day.
President Thabo Mbeki launched an attack on AIDS lobbyists who conduct "propaganda attacks" against the state. See his report from News 24, and the column by Mbeki from ANC Today.
PROBLEMS WITH NEVIRAPINE TRIALS (MARCH '02)
The pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim dropped plans to try to get FDA permission to market nevirapine for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV in the US after "irregularities" were found in African trials of the drug.
The FDA believes that the problems are "potentially quite serious".
See this Reuters report, this AP release, this article from South Africa's Business Day, and this article from the Washington Post.
Some researchers rushed to defend the drug fearing it
would give South Africa's government an excuse to reject it.
See this Reuters report.
"Top" South African scientists urged their
government to end its opposition to the use of
the drug. See this article from Reuters. South Africa's Medicines Control Council is considering reviewing the registration of the drug, says this article from South Africa's Business Day.
The Perth Group made a
presentation reviewing the African nevirapine trials. View the
and listen (Real audio, 65 minutes)
to the presentation, or read the transcript. See also this new article by
Update: An article
from a newspaper from Kampala explaining why the FDA request was
AIDS ACTIVIST AND POLITICAL PRISONER (MARCH '02)
"San Francisco alternative AIDS activists David Pasquarelli
and Michael Petrelis were arrested on November 28, 2001 and
charged with conspiracy to commit terrorism. They were held
on a combined $1.1 million bail for nothing more than an
alleged series of phone calls to the homes and offices of
local government officials and reporters." Read the
interview with David
Pasquarelli by Mark Gabrish
AIDS DUEL (MARCH '02)
"AIDS 'dissident' David Rasnick of the University of
California at Berkeley has agreed to inject himself with
HIV if South African Professor Philip Machanick takes a
three-drug cocktail of anti-HIV medicine for the rest of
his life." See this article from the San Francisco Chronicle, and this older article from CNSNews.
See also the Rasnick's letters to
South Africa's Daily Mail and Guardian.
NEWS FROM SOUTH AFRICA
The South Africa government maintained that its country
needs more research on nevirapine before distributing it in
public hospitals. See this AP release.
"Opposition leaders hurled ridicule and defiance at
President Thabo Mbeki," says this this Reuters
See also this
article from the Mail & Guardian.
The government said it will expand research into the use
of nevirapine, but will not make the drug universally
available. Read this article
Nelson Mandela has been criticising his governments AIDS
policy. See this BBC article, and this article. But according to this IPS story, "Mandela has made it clear that there is no direct conflict between
himself and Mbeki." See also this article from Reuters,
this article from BMJ, and this Reuters release.
President Mbeki got slammed in Newsweek. "Thabo
Mbeki is feuding with allies, fighting his cabinet and
losing international friends. How his dissent on AIDS is
unraveling his presidency." Read the article by Tom Masland. See
also this article from South Africa's Financial Times.
Former US President Jimmy Carter and William Gates Sr., co-chairman of the Gates Foundation, visited South Africa.
Mandela accompanied them, and criticised his government again. See this Reuters story, and this article from AP.
Carter had some
advice for Mbeki, see
this article from South Africa's Business Day. The ANC has reacted "angrily" to Carter. See this article from Business Day, and the press release from the ANC.
Judge Chris Botha ruled again that the South African
government had to start providing nevirapine immediately for
HIV-positive pregnant women in state hospitals. See this
article from The Guardian.
The ANC condemned the court order saying it "defies logic",
and that courts should not determine health policy,
says this article from Reuters. See also this article from SAPA, this Reuters release, this article, and see this release from the ANC.
The National Executive Committee of the ANC held a
meeting to discuss AIDS. The committee released a statement.
"Government is duty-bound to pose scientific questions
on this and any other matter that affects public policy. In
this regard, the NEC welcomes the continuing work of the
Presidential Advisory Panel on AIDS, and urges that these
matters under investigation should be handled with the urgency
"The ruling African National Congress has given its
top officials a document that questions the existence of
AIDS, condemns AIDS drugs as poisonous and describes
Western attitudes to the pandemic in Africa as blatant
racism." The document was obtained by the Associated
Press, see this article.
See also this article from South Africa's Mail & Guardian, this article from South Africa's Financial Mail, and another article from the Mail & Guardian.
The former archbishop Desmond Tutu "said
he supported the rollout of anti-retroviral drugs including
the controversial nevirapine, which he said had an important
impact on the prevention of AIDS." See this article from
AFP. See this article too.
"Peter Mokaba, ANC MP, is no newcomer to rough politics. He has become a key player in the HIV/AIDS debate within the ANC." See this interview with Peter Mokaba from the Financial Mail, this interview from the New York Times, this article from The Guardian, and this article from South Africa's The Star.
See also this article by Anita Allen, and this letter by Dave Rasnick.
TREATMENT FAILURES (CONT.) (FEB./MARCH '02)
"With current therapies bedeviled by serious side effects
and growing viral resistance, hopes are fading for a quick breakthrough." See this article from the Los Angeles Times.
"A class of anti-HIV drugs called nucleoside analogues,
which include medications like AZT, can interfere with the
ability of mitochondria to produce energy." Researchers have
developed a new test to measure the mitochondrial toxicity.
See this Reuters release.
"All the currently available drugs are losing their
impact." See this article from AP.
"Strokes and coronary disease are linked to powerful
protease inhibitors, some doctors suspect." Read this article from the Los Angeles Times.
"Scientists in the US have confirmed that children born
to HIV positive mothers, exposed to treatment in the womb
have an increased frequency of genetic mutations." See this
article from the BBC.
"Therapy may also have an unexpected side effect: increasing
the risk of febrile seizures in early childhood." See this
article from Reuters.
"The Bristol-Myers Squibb Company has warned doctors that
some patients who took its HIV, drug Zerit developed a rare
nerve inflammation that caused some deaths." See this report from Bloomberg
People on protease inhibitors were much more likely to die 3 to 4
years after starting "antiretroviral" drugs than people started on
drug regimens that did not contain protease inhibitors. Read this
article by Matt Irwin.
"Median time from seroconversion to AIDS and death in
poor, starving rural Africans without access to health
care, purified water or electricity is no different than
that observed in Europeans, North Americans, or Australians
who have full access to proper nutrition, health-care,
"live-prolonging" antiretrovirals, and prophylaxis against
opportunistic infections." Read this article by Rodney Richards.
LETTERS TO THE BMJ (FEB. '02)
The British Medical Journal published several dissident letters online.
"As a prison medical officer in South Africa, I partly
agree with President Mbeki's sceptical view of current
statistical research into HIV infection and AIDS." Read
to the BMJ, and see the rapid responses.
"Managing shame is important for improving health care." An editorial about shame from the BMJ. See the responses too.
And a letter about the reduction of mother-to-child transmission of HIV from AnotherLook.
There was also some discussion in the JAMA about a breastfeeding
study. Read the letters.
AIDS AND THE VOODOO HEX ( FEB. '02)
"Most people have heard of Voodoo hexing, where a hexed
individual succumbs to a chronic illness that often results
in death, exactly as predicted. Most people are not aware,
however, that some of medicine's leading researchers and
physicians have studied this phenomenon. In addition, most
people have not considered how this might relate to AIDS."
Matt Irwin MD,
a family practice resident from the USA, reviewed the
SUPPORT FOR JAILED ACTIVISTS (FEB. '02)
"Two aggressive AIDS activists jailed in San Francisco are
finding support from unlikely sources: those who call their
theories "crackpot" and consider their tactics indecent and
abhorrent," says this article
from the Los Angeles Times. See also
this article from the Bay Area Reporter, and this press release.
Michael Bellefountaine answered some questions about the case.
See also this article from The New York Times, this article by Alexander Cockburn from Counterpunch, this article from POZ, this article by Patricia Nell Warren for A & U Magazine, this article from the San Francisco Examiner, and this article from The Advocate,
After preliminary hearings
the Judge reduced the outrageous bail. See this press release. Both activists are
now out of jail. See this article from the San Francisco Examiner.
COCAINE AND HIV (FEB. '02)
Cocaine makes AIDS progress faster and leads to more opportunistic infections. A new mice study showed "cocaine
greatly enhanced replication of the virus and increased the
number of human cells it infected and killed."
See this article from the New York Times, and this article from Reuters.
AIDS MONEY (FEB. '02)
"So much HIV/AIDS-related funding is subject to waste and fraud
that some patients could actually be suffering from it." Read
the story from Fox News. See also this article.
NEW BOOK DR. KREMER (JAN. '02)
The german AIDS dissident Heinrich Kremer MD
got his new book about AIDS and cancer
Germany. The german magazine Raum und Zeit published
an interview with Dr. Kremer. Read the translation.
WRONG TEST RESULT (JAN. '02)
"In a case that raises questions about the accuracy of
HIV tests, an Oklahoma man has won a $1.4 million settlement
nine years after a health clinic mistakenly told him he was
infected." Read the article from Health Scout News.
MISSING VIRUS THE GROUP
BOOKSHELF FRONT NEWS